The hooker discusses the trip to Glasgow and what she expects from Scotland, with Shay Waterworth
Amy Cokayne wants England to stamp authority against Scotland
The Red Roses are on course to win back-to-back Grand Slam titles with wins over Italy and Wales in the opening rounds of the Six Nations. Next up is Scotland in Glasgow and England head coach, Simon Middleton, has made five changes to his team that beat Wales 52-0 in round two, with captain Sarah Hunter being the most notable change. She misses out through Injury.
England hooker Amy Cokayne started on the bench in the opening game against Italy, before regaining the number two shirt for their dominant win against Wales. The 21-year-old played a pivotal role in last season’s Grand Slam title and England’s Rugby World Cup campaign in Ireland, making her one of the youngest players in international rugby to have more than 30 caps.
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The England squad travelled up midweek to begin preparations for Friday night’s game at Scotstoun Stadium. “I think I’ve been here before. That doesn’t sound convincing does it? But I really like where we’re staying, we have big double beds and nice TVs,” says Cokayne.
“Unfortunately I’ve given up chocolate, biscuits and crisps for lent so there’ll be no deep-fried Mars bars for me.”
England started slowly against Italy in the opening match of the campaign but responded with a punishing win over Wales the following week, and although England beat Scotland 64-0 last year in the same competition, Cokayne insists it won’t be as straight forward this time around. “Both teams are totally different, Scotland came really close against Wales and France so we can’t take anything for granted. We aren’t the finished article yet, but with every game we’re improving.”
Cokayne played the majority of her junior rugby in New Zealand after moving out there with her family in 2006. Her father is a military man which meant she had to follow them around the world from a young age. However, now it’s her family who are following her. “My parents have been to almost every single one of my games including Canada and just about everywhere. It can be quite hard to spot them after a game but during the World Cup they had a huge England flag which made it much easier.”
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Cokayne is sharing rooms with fellow front-rower Justine Lucas and the pair are currently watching Netflix series Black Mirror in between training and sleeping. The prospect of a Friday night match plays out perfectly for Cokayne for a simple reason.
“I really like sleeping, so Friday nights are much better. Some Saturday games can be really early so it means I can just rest all day before the game.
“This will be a big opportunity to stamp our authority on the competition against a continually improving Scotland team.”
The Scots have made just one change to their starting XV to play the Red Roses which head coach Shade Munro says is a reward for their spirited performance against France two weeks ago.
Elsewhere in the competition, France will travel to Corsica to play an Italian side yet to record a point in the 2018 campaign. The French have made six changes from the previous round which could be a tactical squad rotation with England and Wales yet to come. The Azzurre meanwhile, have made a similar number of changes including veteran fly half Veronica Madia, who will earn her 80th cap on Saturday.
THREE OUT OF FIVE
Ireland will host Wales in Dublin to complete the fixtures in round three. The hosts edged Wales 12-7 in Cardiff in last year’s tournament and head coach Adam Griggs has changed three of his front five for the match. Wales have made just one change and head coach Rowland Phillips believes both teams are evenly matched and that the result could come down to whichever team wants it the most.
Friday 23 February, Scotland v England, 7:05pm, Scotstoun Stadium, Sky Sports
Saturday 24 February, France v Italy, 8pm GMT, Stade Furiani, FTV
Sunday 25 February, Ireland v Wales, 3pm, Donnybrook, RTE and SC4